As business owners I’m sure you recognise the power of publicity and how positive media coverage can have an impact on your business. Free media exposure has a lot more credibility than advertising. In fact it’s said that publicity is seven times more effective.
However you may also think that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to gain publicity and maybe you’re not in a financial position to hire a PR firm (yet!).
But if you follow my 10-point plan I’m sure that you’ll soon experience the power of the press.
1. Gain the appropriate skills and knowledge to become an expert in your field. Experts on specialist topics are sought after by the media. Become a qualified member of your industry’s association, as this will give you credibility when the media choose to profile you.
2. Be clear on what your message is, know what you want to say. Understand that you need to have a point of difference or something interesting to say and that you need to get that across in an entertaining and informative way. Summarise your message in short, succinct, sound bites.
3. You need to have an audience to listen to your message. Do some research on your ideal customer, perhaps a survey. Look at whom your competitors are talking to. Zero in on your target.
4. Reach out to your target audience through the media. Research the most appropriate magazines, newspapers, on-line media or TV shows for your story. Build a database of media contacts or buy a media directory.
5. Approach the media. Send out a well-written media release, follow up with phone calls. Submit articles to magazines. Submit articles to on-line sites. Follow up again. Make sure to be consistent with your media liaison.
6. A picture tells a thousand words. Send out a professional and creative photograph with your release or ring the media outlet and suggest a photo opportunity. Stage a creative film opportunity for television. Media is entertainment and most people are attracted to strong visual images.
7. Be persistent. Keep on submitting media releases and articles. But learn to take no for an answer and don’t be a pushy publicist. You need to build good working relationships with journalists.
8. Be prepared for media interviews. Prepare beforehand possible questions and rehearse the answers. Prepare a few points you want to get across and stay on track. Again think of sound bites and memorable phrases to convey.
9. Build up a portfolio of information about you. Your media kit to include on your website as an online newsroom and for meetings with journalists.
10. Consolidate your expertise by publishing books, CD’s and DVD’s and reap the rewards of successful public relations.